Manhunt after Gardaí fire five shots at SUV being 'driven at them with murderous intent'
A manhunt was continuing last night for a criminal who drove at gardaí, leading them to fire at least five shots at an SUV during an operation targeting the Kinahan crime cartel.
A 27-year-old Cabra man, described as a 'wannabe' hitman for the organisation, remained in garda custody last night at Ballyfermot garda station.
He was arrested during the planned intelligence operation which unfolded at Kylemore Way in Inchicore at around 3pm yesterday.
A senior source said officers from the Garda's Special Crime Task Force were acting on intelligence when they noticed a white Citroen van which failed to stop for them in the Jamestown Road area.
A loaded handgun with a silencer attached which was wrapped in a Dunnes Stores plastic bag was thrown from the van as a short chase ensued between armed officers and the men.
The chase came to an abrupt end when an unmarked Garda car rammed into the side of the van. It is understood that detectives arrested the Cabra man after he was ordered to get out of the van.
Within seconds of this happening, his associate drove a Kia Sportage SUV, which is believed to have been travelling in convoy with the van, at gardaí and the arrested man which led to officers firing five shots at the vehicle.
"Garda lives were on the line here but even the arrested man was under peril from his associate. The SUV was driven at them with murderous intent," a source said.
"Gardaí felt that they had no choice other than to fire shots. They were trying to put the arrested man in a Garda car when this happened," the source added.
The Kia Sportage which was recovered close to the scene was found with a number of bullet holes in it.
The suspect who drove at gardaí is understood to have fled from this vehicle on foot with others.
Officers from the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) had earlier received intelligence about the van and its links to a planned murder being carried out by the Kinahan cartel.
This led to the bureau's Special Crime Task Force being dispatched to the locality and its members moved in on the van when they saw it acting suspiciously.
No one was injured in yesterday's drama which is now the subject of an investigation by the Garda Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) because shots were fired by gardaí.
The discarded loaded pistol was observed by a group of onlookers who quipped to a detective that "it is a nice Christmas present for somebody" as he moved to retrieve the deadly weapon.
The suspect in custody last night is extremely well known to gardaí and has more than 50 previous convictions.
He has served a number of jail sentences for violent offences but was not previously considered an active member of the Kinahan cartel which has driven the capital's deadly gangland feud, claiming 12 lives.